Under the Level
Hurricane Katrina

When the Levees Broke Documentary by Spike Lee
As the world watched in horror, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005. Like many who watched the unfolding drama on television news, director Spike Lee was shocked not only by the scale of the disaster, but by the slow, inept and disorganized response of the emergency and recovery effort. Lee was moved to document this modern American tragedy, a morality play witnessed by people all around the world. The result is WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE: A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS. The film is structured in four acts, each dealing with a different aspect of the events that preceded and followed Katrina's catastrophic passage through New Orleans.

Teaching the Levees
Teaching the Levees ia a resource to assist in the teaching the difficult subjects of race and class through the lens of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. This curriculum, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and created by educators from Teachers College and Columbia University, takes the HBO Documentary Film Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke, as both impetus, touchstone and text for democratic dialogues in schools, colleges, and community organizations. The images and voices in Lee’s film, some from news coverage of the hurricane, may be hard to reconcile with many Americans’ ideas of their nation. These voices and images compel us to ask: “What kind of country are we? What kind of country do we want to be?”

Hurricane Katrina: Social-Demographic Characteristics of Impacted Areas
This report, prepared by the Congressional Research Service, provides specific information about the social-demographic characterisstics of neighborhoods affected by hurricane Katrina, including communities in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. It also provides specific details about roperty damage, loss of life, and sizeable displacement of population

New Orleans Hurricane Protection System: What Went Wrong
This report was prepeared by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It provides indepth research into the infrastructure of the hurricane protection system in New Orleans pre-Katrina, the manner in which the Levees failed, the consequences of the failure, the direct and indirect causes of the failure and what must be done to protect New Orleans moving forward.

New Orleans Recovery

The Road Home Program
The Road Home program is the largest single housing recovery program in U.S. history. The program’s objective is to help effected residents get back into a home or apartment as quickly and fairly as possible. The Road Home program was created by Governor Blanco, the Louisiana Recovery Authority, and the Office of Community Development. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Despite its successes for some, the program has also caused signficant frustration for many residents, particularly those without insurance, and has been found to be inadequately funded to meet demand for financial assistance by ICF International.

Gulf Coast Recovery Bill of 2007
Sign the petition to support Senator Dodd's Gulf Coast Recovery Bill of 2007 (S1668) to assist the Gulf Coast region in rebuilding the infrastructure lost after the Katrina and Rita disasters.
Sign here at Where the Saints Go Marching In or sign at Moveon.org

Under The Level Blog
As we come across news about developments in New Orleans, we'll post those news in the blog. We also invite you to register as a contributor and post relevant articles and share in the discussion.

Climate Change in NYC

NASA data on rising sea levels
The most recent and complete sea level data from NASA was obtained through the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) obtained elevation data on a near-global scale to generate the most complete high-resolution digital topographic database of Earth. SRTM consisted of a specially modified radar system that flew onboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour during an 11-day mission in February of 2000.

Interactive Flood Map of New York
This map was made using the google maps API and raw data from NASA listed above. This map provided the intial data for the Under the Level maps of New York City's flood potential. You can move through the entire world and change the number of feet below sea level that is shown to see levels of flood that could be possible.

The High Water Line Project
High Water Line is a public artwork on the New York city waterfront designed to create an immediate visual and local understanding of the affects of climate change. I will be marking the 10-feet above sea level line by drawing a blue chalk line and installing illuminated beacons in parks. This line marks the extent of increased flooding brought on by stronger and more frequent storms as a result of climate change.

New York City Office of Emergency Management
The website for the New York City Office of Emergncy Management has numerous resources for NYC residents in the event of a hurricane or flooding, in addition to other disasters. It also provides residents with a hurricane evacuation finder that allows you to see if you live or work in a hurricane evacuation zone

A Hundred Katrinas: Climate Change and the Threat to the U.S. Coast
Excerpt from article: It's relatively easy to prepare for a high tide. The far less predictable threat from rising seas will be storms. Not every hurricane is a Katrina, but rising sea levels increase the likelihood and the intensity of flooding even from smaller tropical storms and nor'easters. If there's an extra foot or two of water near your home, floods will be deeper, and high water that once came along just once every century may instead happen once a decade. If that weren't enough, many atmospheric scientists are now saying that a hotter planet will also add to hurricane strength, meaning more major storms, massive storm surges, and higher winds.